“I will work tirelessly with all parties to build a truly shared future for Northern Ireland”

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From Peter Robinson’s New Year message:

During 2013 I want to see the publication of the Executive’s CSI strategy. Those parties that walked away from the responsibility all politicians have to reach agreement on this issue need to come back to the table. The last few weeks has shown that a party political boycott is not the way to respond to such a significant issue. A worked-up draft is now available. I want political leaders to contribute to moving forward rather than opting out and dodging difficult compromises. I will work tirelessly with all Parties to build a truly shared future for Northern Ireland. A future where everyone’s culture and identity is respected.

In my 2012 speech to Conference I said I wanted to cement our place within the Union and I also pledged “if that means taking tough decisions or abandoning out-dated dogmas, then I’ll do it.” I hope in 2013 others will also stand ready to take tough decisions. Whether it is the reform of the Assembly institutions or Executive decisions affecting health, education or business everyone must be prepared to put their shoulder to the wheel. [emphasis added]

A year and a half after the Assembly election, it is surely time for all parties to find half a dozen policies on which they can work together to make a real difference for all their constituents, while also moving the CSI strategy from a draft paper to real life actions that are noticed and absorbed by civil society.

And yet flags, protests, a unionist forum and perceptions of undervalued culture are top of the agenda, it is hard to see how the space could be created up on the hill to allow politicians to take advantage of the consensus that does exist in the Programme for Government.

Suggested New Year’s resolution for Ministers and MLAs: before making statements or signing up to policies, ask yourself whether you’re acting towards a short term win for your own supporters, or a long term change that benefits everyone.

But then, that’s asking politicians not to be political …

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “I will work tirelessly with all Parties to build a truly shared future for Northern Ireland. A future where everyone’s culture and identity is respected.” .. PR

    This quote needs to be viewed in the context of the one he made in his 2012 conference speech:

    Let us rise to the challenge as did our forefathers and let us leave the legacy of Northern Ireland as a shared society at the heart of a permanently United Kingdom.

    Nationalist parties will continue to work tirelessly to remove NI from the UK so a shared future is definitely off the agenda – unless the tug-of-war folks opt for a form of shared sovereignty that maximises the interests of each.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Martin sounds quite conciliatory too:

    “Our future must be one of reconciliation and the politics of hope and change. In taking all of this forward we will of course face many challenges, not least the continuing blight of sectarianism and segregation.

    “Meeting these will require imagination and compromise. But compromise discriminates against no-one and benefits us all.”

    but his boss is more explicit in his New Year address:

    “The current qualified and conditional claim by Britain on the North will change when a majority of citizens vote to end the Union. Sinn Féin wants to see a border poll held in the upcoming period. That means building support for a poll and for a vote to end Partition.

    Let’s hope the tug-of-war rope doesn’t break.

  • Neil

    Nationalist parties will continue to work tirelessly to remove NI from the UK so a shared future is definitely off the agenda

    That kind of sounds like a shared future is only theoretically even imaginable in the scenario where Nationalists become Unionists. There’s no reason why sharing this patch of land should be linked to the constitutional status. We can share now, and we can share in every possible future, including one where Nationalists continue to be Nationalists.

    Anyway, if Gerry wants a poll and Peter’s convinced 90% of the population is actually Unionist regardless of who they vote for, one can only assue Peter’s chuckling to himself, looking forward to this poll where he can humiliate his opponents for once and for all.

    For some mistifying reason though he seems to be keen to spare SF’s blushes by not having a poll. And as Alan rightly alludes to any kind of outreach chat will be viewed through the prism of flegs, protests, traffic jams and so on by many in my community. If I were him I’d leave the high horse act for a bit.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    ” I want political leaders to contribute to moving forward rather than opting out and dodging difficult compromises.”

    I wonder which political leaders he has in mind here. The Alliance Party certainly didn’t opt out and dodge the difficult compromise over the fleg at the City Hall.

  • galloglaigh

    I will work tirelessly with all parties to build a truly shared future for Northern Ireland

    No you won’t. Stop telling lies, you’ll dance to the tune of the Orange flute as you’ve always done Peter.

  • DC

    Never mind Peter Robinson, Billy Hutchinson 2013 – that’s where it’s at.

  • arsetopple

    Billy Hutchison an athiest & socialist & perhaps wannabe David Irvine. Cannot see that going down well in unionist circles.

  • DC

    Well neither did Robbo’s koi corp pond and limitless tie collection.

    As of today everyone else has burnt themselves out through their own incompetence in terms of what they purported to stand up for, but didn’t.

    Trimble
    Paisley
    Robinson
    The Alliance Party

    That leave’ Billy Hutchinson as the last man standing in terms of an alternative choice, a new leadership option.

    Willie Frazer is there street-side of course, but that doesn’t count.

  • sonofstrongbow

    The “Orange flute” can (occasionally) be tuneful. Much better to “dance to” than the super bodhran boom of nationalist bombs, or indeed the craic of IRA gunfire.

    As to Billy Hutchinson he’s going nowhere notwithstanding his bid for ‘political activism’ over the flag issue. Unionists are unlikely to vote in any great numbers for people with his kind of antecedents. We tend to leave the local ballot box intoxification brought on by a whiff of cordite to others.

  • galloglaigh

    Yep DC the PUP and their drug dealing UVF entourage are the best bet for unionism. If the PUP want to get serious, they must eradicate the guns and the drugs; the gunmen and the drug dealers.

    I see wee Willie has been banned from Facebook. 2012 was his annus horribilis. Let’s hope that 2013 is more of the same.

  • DC

    @Gallog

    Re the PUP, how many years and times have people been lectured, ‘don’t vote for a SF-type corresponding party within unionism, we will be the ones to get you a fair deal, shared future’.

    Been through them all, so maybe it’s time people did think again.

  • SK

    “Unionists are unlikely to vote in any great numbers for people with his kind of antecedents”

    Ha.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20314463

  • DC

    SF is about equality
    PUP is about equality

    Let the political battle over equality commence then…

  • Comrade Stalin

    Robinson has some brass neck talking about other people dodging difficult decisions. Flag protests ? Parades legislation ? CSI ? Girdwood ?

    I also noted that Robinson asserted once again that the protests were a right and in addition were justified. I hope everyone who is caught up in the traffic chaos remembers that.

  • anne warren

    Galloglaigh
    The New Year is starting well for you!!
    At 5.35 you wrote:
    “Let’s hope that 2013 is more of the same”.

    Your hopes have been answered

    The man who couldn’t tell the difference between the Irish and Italian Tricolours is now going to order the Irish to remove their flag from their parliament

    Loyalist flag protesters to target Oireachtas tricolour in Dublin

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/loyalist-flag-protesters-to-target-oireachtas-tricolour-in-dublin-16255998.html#ixzz2GkXYUC46

  • Obelisk

    So Peter is pedalling his ‘Shared Future’ spiel again?

    We better be careful then.Every time he does this something crops up within a few weeks that leaves him stuck back up his communal cul-de-sac whether its a prison officer badge or a council’s flag policy.

  • sherdy

    Anne – Good post, but on reading it I can’t decide if this is New Year’s Day or April Fools Day.
    But maybe we shouldn’t laugh at them – just find them a nice quiet padded cell where they’ll do no-one any harm, not even themselves.

  • Red Lion

    DC

    You forget the Basil McCrea (and John McCallister) alternative. Eagerly awaiting Basil’s plans for the New Year. If he opts to join the Tories then any hope for a unionist alternative that stands a chance will be much reduced.

  • carl marks

    sonofstrongbow
    The “Orange flute” can (occasionally) be tuneful. Much better to “dance to” than the super bodhran boom of nationalist bombs, or indeed the craic of IRA gunfire.

    truly amazing.
    While unionists are rioting on the streets, have tried to kill police officers, burnt down the offices of politicians they disapprove of, sent death threats to politicians and generally behaving like bigoted thugs (let’s not forget Dumcree, the third farce, Ulster resistance etc) you still manage a degree of myopic self righteous blather.
    Wonderful where else would you get it.

  • carl marks

    DC (profile)
    1 January 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Never mind Peter Robinson, Billy Hutchinson 2013 – that’s where it’s at.

    Billy is dancing to the tune played by the BNP, Peter lets the street thug tail wag the dog, the UUP plans another split, and they all tell us that a democratic vote by elected representatives is not valid because they don’t like it.
    The DUP talks about outreach to Catholics while supporting the right of a group called the United Protestant Voice to bring chaos to our streets.
    Unionism is disappearing up its own contradictions, amazing the damage 40,000 leaflets can do!

  • carl marks

    Anne just checked the link you put up. So there are going to be two forums, a peoples and a unionist, not often you see a split before something even starts.

  • Zig70

    Robbo started the year with a successful Houdini act with the scandal in distant memory and political junkies analysing his shared future as clever tactics. Now it just looks like a call for ethnic cleansing where a shared future is where we all become loyal British subjects. Getting a bit tired now. There is no real reason to plan the future on national identities and Robbo will be part of the problem until he sees it.

  • anne warren

    Carl
    the Unionist Forum had hardly been proposed when the alternative was set up

    REVEALED: UNION FLAG PROTESTORS TO SET UP RIVAL ‘PEOPLE’S FORUM’
    December 22, 2012 http://www.belfastdaily.co.uk/2012/12/22/revealed-union-flag-protestors-to-set-up-rival-peoples-forum/

  • Comrade Stalin

    Zig,

    Robbo is talking out of both sides of his mouth. The man practically in the same breath says that the protests are justified, and then goes on to say that people need to pull back and take a few risks. I think whatever notions he had about reaching out beyond the core unionist vote are now in tatters.

  • carl marks

    While it’s not relevant to this thread I would like to take the opportunity to condemn the disgusting, cowardly and totally pointless attempted murder of the police constable his wife and family that took place in east Belfast.

  • ayeYerMa

    Good old Comrade Stalin — true to his name as always!

    http://i47.tinypic.com/2ephk41.jpg

  • carl marks

    ayeYerMa
    You don’t seem to know the difference between a democracy (people getting elected by a thing called voting) and then voting according to the manifesto they stood on and a dictatorship where people ignore the will of the electorate and by the use of force and threat of force try to overturn the decisions of elected representatives.
    Let me help with a few examples,
    Democracy- the MAJORITY vote on BCC to restrict the flag flying to 15 days a year.
    Dictatorship- Violent street protests, attempted murder, burning the offices of those who don’t do what the mob tells them etc,etc.

  • Granni Trixie

    CSI doc to be produced “during 2013″.
    So, after all this time The First Minister puts CSI on the long finger….again. But quite honestly the man seems completely insensitive to the mismatch between his truly shared future words and his tacit approval of recent flags protests. Yesterday somebody showed me one of the 40,000 leaflets and I thought it was not only inflammatory but possibly incitement to hatred. In addition the content of the leaflet which followed was even more so.

    So the FM speech means nothing to me (infact Im going back to Gary Barlow…at least with him you know what you are getting).

  • RyanAdams

    “Democracy- the MAJORITY vote”

    Lectures from the nationalist community on MAJORITY and democracy are not well received when looking at their opinion on them throughout the last fifty years. Suddenly things are different when you have one. Now your so comfortable with democracy how about we abandon the power sharing arrangements at Stormont in favor of good old majority rule? Evidently from all this raving about democracy over the last few weeks you’re already to play the game?

  • carl marks

    RyanAdams
    The present setup is the first time we have had democracy in the troubled place. Northern Ireland before the fall of Stormont was not a democracy (check your history books), Suningdale nearly made it but Unionists brought that down using the same tricks they are trying today but nowadays it’s a case of the mouse that roared.
    Or you could look at Carson and the old UVF they opposed the DEMOCRATIC will of all of Ireland to set up their little sectarian state, so please lectures on democracy from a unionist is the height of hyprocisy.

  • carl marks

    Granni Trixie
    I believe the present persecution of Alliance and the courageous stand they have taken will produce success for them in the ballot box, the dirty tricks campaign waged against by the main unionist parties and the disgraceful actions of the traditional bully boys of unionism has backfired.
    Moderate Unionism now has a party that has displayed the courage to stand up for it beliefs. As a nationalist I do not share those unionist beliefs but see Alliance’s display of integrity and courage as a very good thing for that party.

  • DC

    Carl – I’ve told you before re sunningdale, the IRA never even batted an eye lid and carried on and on, at least the unionists made some sort of fuss, and labourism brought the place to a standstill.

    Ryan is correct, *power-sharing* has been nationalists modus operandi in relation to a unionist democratic majority.

    @Anne

    Should those protesters wish to protest in Dublin, I trust we will all wish them well with their endeavours and hope that they manage to make it safely off the bus this time round and actually out to the preferred protest point.

  • carl marks

    how about we abandon the power sharing arrangements at Stormont in favor of good old majority rule? Evidently from all this raving about democracy over the last few weeks you’re already to play the game?

    Very brave of you considering the census results. do we have your promise that if it doesn’t go your way you will Unionism will break from its tradition of bring murder and mayhem to the place.
    what I’m saying is no more attempted UWC lockouts and can we see the back of the UVF, and UDA (after all what do such noble democrats as yourselves need sectarian terror groups for) and maybe someone in your so democratic could tell the United PROTESTANT Voice to take their sectarian shit and go away.
    promise that and im sure nationlists are up for it!

  • Gopher

    I am happy enough with power sharing, but sharing it round 5 parties and having no opposition (apart from Allister and Agnew ) is just plain stupid. I think we have progressed out of that stage now.

  • carl marks

    DC
    and labourism brought the place to a standstill.

    It was not Labourism (did you just make that word up) i was involved in the trade union movement at that time and let me assure the Labour movement opposed the UWC lockout in every way it could IT was right wing loyalist thugs but you see then they had the muscle to force a cowardly British government to do things there way, times have changed.
    Murder intimidation and fear the old weapons of unionism are no longer available to the type of scum that brought down Sunningdale.

  • carl marks

    @Anne

    Should those protesters wish to protest in Dublin, I trust we will all wish them well with their endeavours and hope that they manage to make it safely off the bus this time round and actually out to the preferred protest point.

    Unlike the chrismas shoppers in Belfast then.

  • DC

    Carl Marks – I gave it a small ‘l’ for a reason but surely you have to agree that it was trade unionism, labourism = the dominance of a key section of the working class – that brought the place to a standstill?

    Just because it wasn’t along Marxist/Socialist lines doesn’t mean it still wasn’t actually labourism what done it!

  • Mc Slaggart

    Gopher (profile)

    “I think we have progressed out of that stage now.”

    What makes you think “we” have?

  • RyanAdams

    Carl Marks,

    I didn’t bring unionism into the debate. I’m looking at nationalism’s approach – a holier than thou approach that only they may now possess the zero sum model of democracy and majority rule after years of whining about such model.

    Don’t lecture us on a ‘sectarian state’. Have you forgotten the carry on of De’Valera? Unionist’s split the country apart because they had fears of your catholic state for catholic people – Turned out they had every reason to be when one examines what happened to the protestant population in the republic after partition.

    As for you alluding to fact the UVF and UDA have wide spread support in the unionist community, in case you’ve forgotten we on the vast majority take nothing to do with such groups, and I myself certainly won’t be voting for any war criminal or terrorist anytime soon. Don’t judge others by your own low standards.

  • carl marks

    Carl Marks – I gave it a small ‘l’ for a reason but surely you have to agree that it was trade unionism, labourism = the dominance of a key section of the working class – that brought the place to a standstill?

    No i don’t agree, it was an anti union nasty sectarian action fuelled by hatred, the power station workers where threatened by loyalist thugs to leave there place of work, that is not the action of trade unionists it is the action of right wing thugs

  • carl marks

    RyanAdams

    As for you alluding to fact the UVF and UDA have wide spread support in the unionist community, in case you’ve forgotten we on the vast majority take nothing to do with such groups
    Except when you need muscle to force people to do what you want, then you have no problem with using them, and to keep them on board in case you need them again you turn a blind eye to their criminal activities.

  • carl marks

    Good night boys i have a job to go to. unlike the protesters i have to be up before early afternoon.

  • Comrade Stalin

    ayeYerMa,

    I asked you a few weeks ago to explain what was totalitarian about anything I’ve written, you failed to respond. You also failed to explain how your liberal use of the word “treason” was in any way compatible with the modern democratic notion of freedom of speech. In general you’re not good at being coherent or rational about much of anything, sadly.

    Ryan,

    I’m not a nationalist .. but they do generally have a slightly better record when it comes to majority rule. Unionist controlled councils still refuse to acknowledge their nationalist minorities. Nationalist controlled councils often (but not always) recognize their unionist minority and act to ensure it has a fair crack of the whip. Derry city council being an excellent example.

  • DC

    Well Carl, you make allegations about workers being threatened and you could be right to a certain extent but i would say the majority of workers were content in doing what they did and didn’t need much coercion.

    On the face of it, it looked like unionised striking to me just unaligned to marxism.

  • DC

    Ok Carl, I’m in a creative mood tonight, so how about saying it was – ‘para-labourism’.

  • Gopher

    Noticed the small business rate relief scheme is to be extended. Does that mean the Tesco’s tax is to be increased?

    So that many small businesses have gone to the wall because of high rates there is a shortfall in rates so we have to tax the big guys even more and dress it up as rate relief. God we elect muppets.

  • RyanAdams

    Carl your linking of all unionists to paramilitaries renders you not worthy of any further engagement on the issue – Good day Sir

    Comrade,

    I’m looking at this more in terms of policy and decision making. On one hand unionist councils seem to excel at refusing to elect nationalist colleagues to the chair/mayor-ship which at the end of the day is hardly worth a shite anyway. Nationalist ones seem to be better at making calculated insults to the unionist community with their actions and decisions, as Belfast, Newry and Mourne and Dungannon have demonstrated last month. One has provoked street protests and disruption unseen for decades, meanwhile the other has behaved in an inexcusable manner by honoring a man responsible for some seriously dastardly deeds against a minority community who have suffered enough from their ‘neighbors’ without pouring salt in the wounds. As for Dungannon, a motion that is in vain requesting the release of a man who tried to murder a Councillor sitting in the same very chamber is just sadistic beyond belief.

  • galloglaigh

    DC

    I think the word you’re looking for is para-militarism. In other words terrorism.

  • iluvni
  • David Crookes

    Many thanks for the link, iluvni, which caused me to splutter as well.

    Has anyone got a vision of a New Ireland which doesn’t consist almost entirely of abstract nouns?

    How can you have a vision if you’re not excited by real things?

    Note for anyone who wants to have a vision. Make sure you have a life first.

  • Mc Slaggart

    RyanAdams

    “As for Dungannon, a motion that is in vain requesting the release of a man who tried to murder a Councillor sitting in the same very chamber is just sadistic beyond belief.”

    He is out on temporary release. It is interesting that we all must put up with people whom we think should be in prison.

  • carl marks

    RyanAdams
    Carl your linking of all unionists to paramilitaries renders you not worthy of any further engagement on the issue – Good day Sir
    Of course you could always prove me wrong,
    But let us look at that awkward thing called facts,
    UWC , membership all unionist parties represented on council plus all loyalist terror groups.
    Dumcree, all unionist parties involved plus all loyalist terror groups,
    OO parades virtually all unionists’ politicians’ members plus all loyalist terror groups have members in there, not to mention marching bands linked to loyalist terror groups.
    I could go on for an awful lot more but I think even you can see a pattern developing.
    How many times have the leaders of the PUP stated their disgust at the way the mainstream unionist use them when they need them and them ignore them when they don’t need them ( I believe DC has been on about this lately as well)

  • RyanAdams

    McSlaggart

    Can you Articulate your point more clearly please?

    Carl Marks

    Awkward thing called facts? So where do Basil McCrea, John McCallister, Dawn Purvis, Gavin Robinson, Alastair Ross, Paul Freu all fit in with the Orange Order?

    Get your tinfoil hat off. I as a unionist have and will continue to have nothing to do with the OO. Believe me, if you think demographics are changing fast in NI, you have no idea how fast they’re moving between the orange group and those who want nothing to do with them.

  • carl marks

    RyanAdams
    yes and all the moderate people you have mentioned have any power inside unionisn nor are they likely to have any.

    yes there is change inside the unionist community but as in the past its the bigots who pull the strings, like it or lump it.
    your tinfoil hat seems to be working better than mine.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Ryan

    It is a simple fact that we live in a society in which their is lots of people whom I think should be in prison and are free to walk the streets.

    Sean O’Callaghan is someone who if not stuck in prison should at the very least just go away and shut up.

  • Zig70

    Have to say SDLP’s vision is awful. The civil rights march was 40yrs ago for feck’s sake. I thought a vision looked forward.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ryan,

    I’m looking at this more in terms of policy and decision making. On one hand unionist councils seem to excel at refusing to elect nationalist colleagues to the chair/mayor-ship which at the end of the day is hardly worth a shite anyway.

    They obviously think it’s worth a shite given the efforts that they refuse to even be seen to be conciliatory over these symbolic positions. And if they can’t bring themselves to be fair over such symbolism how can anyone have confidence that they’re being fair over the decisions that they’re making which effect people ?

    Nationalist ones seem to be better at making calculated insults to the unionist community with their actions and decisions, as Belfast, Newry and Mourne and Dungannon have demonstrated last month. One has provoked street protests and disruption unseen for decades, meanwhile the other has behaved in an inexcusable manner by honoring a man responsible for some seriously dastardly deeds against a minority community who have suffered enough from their ‘neighbors’ without pouring salt in the wounds. As for Dungannon, a motion that is in vain requesting the release of a man who tried to murder a Councillor sitting in the same very chamber is just sadistic beyond belief.

    I agree with you that the decisions in Dungannon and Newry are shocking insults. Nationalists are certainly not angels over these things. But their attempts to be inclusive when unionists are a minority are notable.

    But your paragraph above says a lot of interesting things. Firstly, I don’t see how you can lump the flag in there. I don’t want to reopen this whole flag debate again, but looking at it purely at face value, how could a person comparing the facts in front of him possibly be blamed for believing that a policy on flags which is/was perfectly acceptable to, and supported by, unionists in Lisburn would be offensive and insulting when it was extended to Belfast ?

    The Whiterock “protests”/riots in 2005 were equally serious if not more (AFAIK loyalists fired live rounds at police lines and the army had to accompany police on patrol at one point). So I think you should concede that you might be exaggerating a wee bit. There have been riots but I’m not aware of any firearms being brought out.

    Secondly, I think it’s interesting that you think flags are more important than inclusivity of council positions. Would the systematic exclusion of unionists from all council positions (which aren’t worth a shite) be preferable to the designated days policy ? I don’t think so but that is the implication. The DUP complained loudly and noisily when the selection process based on d’Hondt was modified a year ago because it resulted in one less turn at Mayor for unionism in Belfast.

  • galloglaigh

    Ryan

    No doubt you vote unionist every time though, putting your stamp on politicians, who continue to leg the tail wag the dog?

  • carl marks

    Comrade Stalin
    I don’t see how you can lump the flag in there. I don’t want to reopen this whole flag debate again, but looking at it purely at face value, how could a person comparing the facts in front of him possibly be blamed for believing that a policy on flags which is/was perfectly acceptable to, and supported by, unionists in Lisburn would be offensive and insulting when it was extended to Belfast ?

    Strangely the only answer I seem to be able to get on this one is, and I paraphrase: we have changed our policy because the taigs had the bare Faced cheek to agree with us:
    This is what passes for politics among unionists, oh yes pretending they have no links with loyalist terror groups to prove this we get a list of those ostracised or sidelined by the main unionist parties

  • RyanAdams

    “yes and all the moderate people you have mentioned have any power inside unionism nor are they likely to have any.”

    It’s moving that way, and the orange wing is going to get a shock sooner rather than later. Watch the traditional rump of orange unionists slowly disappear.

    galloglaigh – Not really any of your business but I’ll give you a hint – the person who got my No.1 last time is now in trouble for trying to wag the dog the other way in his party. Exactly the reason he got my No.1 in the first place!

    Comrade – Lisburn had a nationalist mayor last year, Castlereagh had a deputy mayor from the SDLP last year too.

    I have no desire to enter the flag issue either or unionisms connections, my initial post on the thread was to highlight how nationalists are keen to whip out the ‘majority’ and ‘democracy’ cards repeatedly in their tweets and press releases on the issue to condemn the flag protests now that the numbers suit. On that basis do you think it’s time for real democracy, and will we see nationalist support for the zero sum model at Stormont any time soon?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ryan,

    Are nationalists hypocritical ? Damn straight they are. But – to address your point on whether or not they are likely to back simple majorities – when you compare their efforts quantitatively they seem to be making an effort.

    I hate the d’Hondt system but the SDLP have run with it in most of the councils they control. The only time I can think of the unionists advocating it was when (guess what) it could be used to exclude the SDLP from positions in Larne.

    BTW they’re not the only people doing a switch. Unionists are just as likely to correspondingly switch away from their long-held doctrine of preferring majority rule.

  • carl marks

    RyanAdams
    I have no desire to enter the flag issue either or unionisms connections,

    Of course not, these things show unionisms innate bigotry.

    my initial post on the thread was to highlight how nationalists are keen to whip out the ‘majority’ and ‘democracy’ cards repeatedly in their tweets and press releases on the issue to condemn the flag protests now that the numbers suit.

    Of course only unionists are allowed to do this.
    Let’s cut to the chase do you think the elected representatives on BCC have the right to make this decision and if not why not.
    Do you think a BNP led group called the United Protestant Voice has the right to bring mobs onto the street to oppose the decision?
    And when Pete and Mike called for a unionist forum did they not mean to include those causing the mayhem in the streets, imagine your disgust if SF and THE SLP announced a Nationalist forum which included the Dissident republican terrorist groups.

  • carl marks

    of course i meant “SF and the SDLP”

  • RyanAdams

    Let’s cut to the chase do you think the elected representatives on BCC have the right to make this decision and if not why not.

    Yes of course they are. If they are also entitled to accept responsibility for the aftermath – As one Belfast trade leader quipped on TV after the first week of protests, “Who’s idea was it to bring such a sensitive issue to the fore in the weeks leading up to Christmas?”

    Do you think a BNP led group called the United Protestant Voice has the right to bring mobs onto the street to oppose the decision?

    Peacefully yes – to otherwise argue is fascism. When roads are blocked and police injured such organisation is liable for its actions.

    And when Pete and Mike called for a unionist forum did they not mean to include those causing the mayhem in the streets, imagine your disgust if SF and THE SLP announced a Nationalist forum which included the Dissident republican terrorist groups.

    As far as I’m aware this forum has not included UVF/UDA – otherwise point me in the direction of a link and I’ll happily tell you. But if it does and in turn ends street protests is that not a good outcome or are you happy for the mayhem to go on? Like wise, if such a nationalist forum stopped attempts on police officers lives, then yeah by all means go ahead set one up.

  • carl marks

    So again unionist’s riot and it’s the fault of Nationalists for making a democratic decision.

    “As far as I’m aware this forum has not included UVF/UDA “

    Both the PUP and the UPV where invited

    Do you think a BNP led group called the United Protestant Voice has the right to bring mobs onto the street to oppose the decision?

    “Peacefully yes – to otherwise argue is fascism. When roads are blocked and police injured such organisation is liable for its actions.”

    Fascism? So it’s a democratic right to bring a bigoted mob who are certain to engage in violence to forward the agenda of a fascist party (remember you broke Godwin’s law first)
    What’s your line on the whipping up of emotion with 40,000 leaflets,
    By the way i thought you were not talking to me

  • galloglaigh

    Ryan

    Your No1 vote was given to a party candidate, whose party leader, regardless of the stance of the candidate, continues to let the tail wag the dog.

    CM is correct; all unionist voters vote for parties who have no problem using loyalist terrorist muscle, even in 2013. You deserve the politicians you vote for.

  • RyanAdams

    This is going no where.

    Never mind first … I’m going to fully invoke Godwins law here ….

    The Nazi’s were democratically elected too :) How’d that work out?

    “What’s your line on the whipping up of emotion with 40,000 leaflets”
    It’s propaganda, something all political parties engage in to motivate an electorate. What’s the difference between it here and in this example – http://twitter.yfrog.com/h8cwbskj

    gallog,

    It was a vote of confidence in someone who I believe has potential. That’s like saying no-one in SF has a clue about economics just because the party leader happens to be a dumbass on the subject.

  • carl marks

    The Nazi’s were democratically elected too :) How’d that work out?
    Lovely the BNP are on the streets starting riots and the elected Nationlists are Nazis

    “What’s your line on the whipping up of emotion with 40,000 leaflets”
    It’s propaganda, something all political parties engage in to motivate an electorate.
    So unionist rabble rouse and that’s ok, Nationalists exercise their democratic right (oh and by the way agree on a compromise something unionists only do when forced)) and unionists riot and that’s nationalists fault!
    As I have said before “you couldn’t make it up”. You were taking the piss earlier when you claimed to be a moderate.

  • RyanAdams

    rabble rouse? Unless that leaflet said go burn your local Alliance office out, try to kill police and block roads you’re barking up the wrong tree mate.

    Moderate? That doesn’t mean I’m not going to engage nationalists when they’re talking sh’te and acting the bunch of hypocrites as Comrade has highlighted above!

  • carl marks

    rabble rouse? Unless that leaflet said go burn your local Alliance office out, try to kill police and block roads you’re barking up the wrong tree mate.

    Now you’re clutching at straws, everyone but the idiots who put out the leaflet agree it was rabble rousing,
    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that winding people up in this place leads to trouble on the streets but Pete is missing his Westminster salary and decided to use the flag issue to have a go at alliance the rest is history, Mike even had to deny he knew anything about it to save his ass.
    However you are right this is going nowhere, come back when you get of your high horse, take the beam out of your eye, and enter the 21st century ?

  • RyanAdams

    It didn’t take a leaflet to raise a rabble after the Army cadet incident! Do you honestly believe all would have passed off quietly without incident otherwise? – If the leaflet didn’t raise a rabble the media would have!

  • carl marks

    RyanAdams (profile)
    2 January 2013 at 11:45 pm

    It didn’t take a leaflet to raise a rabble after the Army cadet incident! Do you honestly believe all would have passed off quietly without incident otherwise? – If the leaflet didn’t raise a rabble the media would have!

    So unionists will riot whenever Nationalists make a decision they don’t approve of.
    But hey bring up the stupid thing a SF mayor done, that excuses everything.
    We are back to its all their fault. Those dammed Nationalists insist that they have the right to be nationalists, do they not understand democracy, do they not know it means do it our way or else,
    I mean to say bring back the old days when the attitude was “the good taig doesn’t want to vote and the bad one doesn’t deserve to.
    Sorry mate those days are gone live with it.

  • RyanAdams

    “But hey bring up the stupid thing a SF mayor done, that excuses everything.”

    Glad you agree it was stupid. But come on. It’s like you said earlier – “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that winding people up in this place leads to trouble on the streets”
    Removing the flag for nationalists may be about equality – but that’s not what it means to others – many won’t see it that way. I’m interested in why there was no proposal to put a tri-colour alongside the union jack, or raise a civic flag? What do you think of this?

  • galloglaigh

    Ryan

    That’s like saying

    No it’s not, it’s like saying that Gerry Adams goes into meetings and forums with dissident murderers, while Daithi McKay, although opposes to it, remains in the party.

    That’s what it’s like.

  • Yellowford

    “Removing the flag for nationalists may be about equality – but that’s not what it means to others – many won’t see it that way.”

    Why not? Why should only one flag that represents only one side of the community be the only flag flying? What does equality really mean to unionists? Their way or no way? You seriously think unionists would accept a tricolour anywhere near city hall? Willie Frazer and 150 loyalists won’t accept it in Dublin according to the Belfast Telegraph. Can you even imagine if nationalists were blocking the main roads in Belfast over Xmas, attacking the police, threatening politicians and burning the Union flag outside city hall with scarves over their faces all because they didn’t agree with a democratic decision? What is SF and the SDLP condemned the violence but supported road blocks? There would be an Israeli style over reaction. It would not be tolerated by the unionists, and rightly so. It’s the equivalent of a spoiled child throwing tantrum because they’ve been told that they now have to share. To add insult to injury, it is now being spun that Sinn Fein are not playing by the rules and have started a culture war. Eroding Britishness? A strange way of thinking. Since the plantation Irish cultural erosion has been the modus operandi of the British state. The indigenous language is treated as a worthless, defunct leprechaun language. Irishness is treated with distain within the harder elements of unionism/orangism/loyalism. They have shown no respect to the other side but demand respect in return? This hypocritical attitude must change for there to be any hope. Please try and see things from an unbiased viewpoint and accept the failings of unionism. They had a choice. They could have decided the way to go was to say that unionists had nothing to fear from the limiting of the flag. It was a way of showing nationalists that compromise and shared spaces were more than just rhetoric. Instead, they flew off the handle and whipped their electorate into a frenzy for political gain talking about chipping away at Britishness. This led to countless union flags going everywhere. Even when some were taken down because they look terrible (as would tricolours on every lampost, two on some) and weren’t wanted, they were back up the next day. The work of bullies. I for one would not like to be caught taking one down.

    The unionist ‘leaders’ have had a long time to embrace the Belfast/St. Andrews Agreement. It should have been laid out to unionists that this was coming. I fear some elements of unionism will be looking to bring down the institutions of government soon enough. There’s even been talk on this website of a return to majority rule. I just hope the likes of Basil McCrea and John McAllister can bring progressive unionist thinking with them. It’s the only way, as far as I can see, that this place is going to work. Otherwise, I fear the worst. Another brilliant summer to look forward to in this enlightened society…

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ryan:

    As one Belfast trade leader quipped on TV after the first week of protests, “Who’s idea was it to bring such a sensitive issue to the fore in the weeks leading up to Christmas?”

    Yes, I saw that. It would be just like a DUP member to blame everyone for the protests except the people actually protesting.

    Do you think a BNP led group called the United Protestant Voice has the right to bring mobs onto the street to oppose the decision?

    Peacefully yes – to otherwise argue is fascism. When roads are blocked and police injured such organisation is liable for its actions.

    The right to protest is there, but these events are not peaceful protests. They’re illegal, they block roads and in some cases they are intended to intimidate Alliance elected representatives and constituents getting help from them, with the longer term objective of putting the party out of business. That’s where the fascism really is.

    And when Pete and Mike called for a unionist forum did they not mean to include those causing the mayhem in the streets, imagine your disgust if SF and THE SLP announced a Nationalist forum which included the Dissident republican terrorist groups.

    I’m actually not disgusted that Peter and Mike want to talk to the people organizing the protests. There’s never any harm in talking. I’d have no problem with people talking to the dissidents (although there is no sign whatsoever that they are interested). Doing a deal is a completely different matter of course.

    I’m more disgusted at the idea of having a tribal forum/unionist talking shop. The only place where unionists can get what they want is one which involves the entire community and which involves give and take.

    I am also disgusted with the attempt to reinforce the notion that something bad was done at Belfast City Council when in reality nationalists merely voted with Alliance to extend an existing unionist policy in Lisburn to the city. I see no reason why unionists in Belfast should be offended at something which unionists 10 miles up the road are perfectly happy to endorse and accordingly I see no reason to establish a forum to discuss the matter. But of course none of that would help to deal with the real issue, which is getting a DUP MP elected in East Belfast in 2015.

    We are dealing with contrived, whipped up outrage was was manufactured for political/electoral purposes.

    As far as I’m aware this forum has not included UVF/UDA – otherwise point me in the direction of a link and I’ll happily tell you.

    Given that individuals with past UVF/UDA connections are openly being admitted as party members of the DUP it is hard for me to believe that people with existing connections are going to be stopped at the front door of whereever this unionist forum is meeting.

    But if it does and in turn ends street protests is that not a good outcome or are you happy for the mayhem to go on? Like wise, if such a nationalist forum stopped attempts on police officers lives, then yeah by all means go ahead set one up.

    The stated objectives of the unionist forum say nothing about stopping flag protests. It is one out of 7 objectives to “address the flags issue” which is a subtlely different thing. Nah, this is all about Peter Robinson making a move to build a single unionist party; and it’s about reinforcing the divisions in our society against tribal lines.

  • carl marks

    .Removing the flag for nationalists may be about equality – but that’s not what it means to others – many won’t see it that way. I’m interested in why there was no proposal to put a tri-colour alongside the union jack, or raise a civic flag? What do you think of this?

    A really strange question I have no idea what you are trying to get at but I will answer as best I can.
    On the flag and equality it should be obvious that only one flag flying all the time represents only one side of the community (not seen many Catholics involved if street rioting because the union flag is only flying on designated days), we compromised and give you a better deal than you have ever offered us.
    Only those who have the our way or no way attitude (or politicians trying to whip up hysteria) could think that this is unfair which group do you belong to?
    As to why the the vote didnt put a tricolour up!
    It’s quite simple really, Nationalists didn’t want to rub anybody’s nose in the shit, they resisted the urge to display the tricolour because unlike unionist they try to be reasonable (they don’t always succeed but they try), however if you think it was unreasonable of them not to fly the tricolour then write to the Nationalist block on council and demand they put it up.

  • Paulk

    Yellowford, i think that your comment about sums it up very well put. I’d offer one more comment Nationalists did compromise on this issue. Where have unionists “voluntarily” compromised on any issue without being cajoled, pressured or forced? since 1922 how many times did they throw nationalists “a bone”? Nationalists being nationalists should surprise no one. Also RyanAdams your comment on Stormont returning to majority rule may as well have added the caveat ….so we can win again…. honestly does unionism really have to have a winner and a loser can we not draw any contests?? this is the classic example where the leaders should have said that it was a shared space this is a reasonable compromise nobody wins here.

  • David Crookes

    Right, carl marks, imagine that on whatever number of days we had the Union Flag flying beside the Flag of the Four Historic Provinces of Ireland.

    It would be impossible for the DUP to object.

    Stained glass windows in the City Hall display the heraldic emblems of the Four Historic Provinces.

    And about forty years ago the Rev. Ian Paisley had the Flags of the Four Historic Provinces carried in one of his processions. The fact was announced in one issue of the ‘Protestant Telegraph’, so there should be documentation in at least one of our public libraries.

    If it was OK when the City Hall was built, and if it was OK forty years ago, is it still OK today?

    If so, would the Flag of the Four Historic Provinces make any of our fellow-countrymen feel more at home?

    I’m not trying to stir the pot.

  • galloglaigh

    David that’s a good idea, but the real Ulster flag, and not the loyalist banner, would need to be prominent alongside the Union flag.

    It’ll never happen though, and that’s why designated days will be protocol from this year on at BCC.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, galloglaigh. I wonder if the idea will ever catch on once enough people have talked about it and thought about it. It heartens me to know that the City Hall stained-glass windows have survived the fact of partition until today.

  • carl marks

    David Crookes
    To tell you the truth David not a bad idea, I’m all for compromise on this issue, I thought designated days was a good compromise my preferred one would be no flags at all.
    The four provincial flags along with the union flag on designated may be an idea; also the “real” Ulster flag as defined by galloglaigh would suit me fine, A flag representing Belfast also might be good, could we do without national flags at all and just stick to the city emblem. The only thing I would rule out would be either national flag flying all the time.
    Flying the union flag all the time would be giving way to the street thugs and bully boys and I can see that if the tricolour was flown all the time that the unionist community would not be happy, suggesting flying both together would show a belief in an unproven maturity of both communities.
    But I could be wrong maybe there is a silent majority of grownups out there I don’t know about.

  • carl marks

    By the way David i would not bet that the DUP would not object, after all they objected to a policy in Belfast that they support in LIsburn,

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, carl marks. Indeed, the ‘middle’ should be playing that line about DUP inconsistency at top volume.

    I had in mind a four-quartered flag which would represent the Four Historic Provinces on a single rectangle of cloth.

    To me as a transmuting unionist the tricolour speaks of twenty-six counties, while the Flag of the Four Historic Provinces speaks of all Ireland in a most dignified manner.

    Tonight some of the #flegs people are reported as saying that they want a return to direct rule! If they get their way, and there is no reason why they should, we shall have joint authority, and a lot of imposed equalities.

    In recent weeks the #flegs people have managed only to weaken a union which they neither understand nor deserve.

    Last week in Edinburgh a friend of mine met a girl from the RoI who was working in the city. ‘I love being a Brit,’ she whispered guiltily at one point. That girl is far more British than the killer wimps who have been disrupting traffic in NI.

    If I want to love one thing, am I obliged to hate something else? In their own day Brahms and Wagner found themselves on opposite sides of an utterly stupid war about the nature of music: but nowadays music-lovers can listen to Brahms and Wagner ‘sine ira ac studio’, as Tacitus said ( = without anger or partisan spirit). People attain a certain maturity in all kinds of areas when they set aside EITHER-OR in favour of BOTH-AND.

  • carl marks

    David Crookes
    A question, among the nationalist community the Alliance party has gained a great deal of respect for their stand against the campaign of intimidation and the principled manner in which they have stuck to the position set out by them on flags, as a matter of fact I would not be surprised that we may even see the fabled unicorns soon.
    I believe that this whole issue has badly damaged the other unionist parties, as a unionist what do you think will be the effect of all this on the Alliance parties vote in upcoming elections.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, carl marks. I don’t know, but the AP certainly deserves to be rewarded at the polls.

    If and when the #flegs things dies off and goes away, people will remember the leaflets, the wrecked premises, the attacks on homes, the disruption of traffic, and the attempted murder of a policewoman.

    If the #flegs thing keeps going, it will have the unwanted effect of acting as a recruiting-sergeant for the AP.

    I see old-style unionism in terminal decline, a victim of its own basically sub-plebeian culture. At its worst it has always been prepared to use lawless violence. I don’t reckon that present-day loyalists will be attracted to the idea of a British-and-Irish ‘middle’, but I wonder if their energy and imagination might be harnessed in a unified monarchical Ireland.

    Of course that idea would have to be sold, and then bought.

    Whatever happens, the #flegs thing and the response from unionist leaders which it has elicited may be taken to represent the death-rattle and the death-dew of old-style unionism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There is no doubt that the party’s reputation has gone up to some extent among nationalists. Of course it is important to emphasize that this was not some sort of stunt performed with an eye on patronizing nationalists to obtain their vote. Alliance was put on the spot and implemented a policy it had adopted ten years ago. The party certainly cannot take nationalist transfers or support for granted and it is an area it needs to work on.

    I think the party’s stock has also gone up to some extent among a certain section of unionists, those whom you might call pragmatic unionists, or civic unionists. These unionists recognize that the party scored what could be seen as a small victory for NI’s position in the UK by creating a situation where nationalists voted for flying the flag on designated days. Among the party’s high profile supporters on this stance you have figures such as Basil McCrea and Lord Trimble. With the right mindset, either “camp” can look at this matter at face value and see that it is possible to read something positive into it either way.

    I struggle a lot with unionism. It’s diverse and very hard to read. I genuinely have no idea how many unionists fit into the civic or pragmatic category above. I’m hopeful it’s a significant subset of those who currently vote DUP or UUP.